Dec 26 2011

Bookmark: Shaun Gladwell

by the contributing artist

For ArtAsiaPacific’s Bookmark this week, video artist Shaun Gladwell, Australia’s representative at the 2009 Venice Biennale, shares some of his online sources of inspiration and intrigue.

Gladwell’s work has often mined the poetry of street cultures within the syntax of video; slow motion scenes of skateboard tricks, capoera or breakdancers and grafitti performances are recognizable motifs. His recent solo show “Riding with Death: Redux” featured Midnight Traceur (2011), a 23-minute video of a parkour practitioner bouncing and spinning across the city’s vertical surfaces at night, shown on a small screen in a shipping container set in the gallery space. Also in 2011 he was commissioned to develop a new series of works especially for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne. These focused on mirror images and duality, and culminated in the midyear exhibition “Stereo Sequences.”

1. Eagle webcam

I love ornithology yet the closest I ever get to fieldwork is via webcams positioned in various nests around the world. The result is both banal and, at times, sublime. The Decorah bald eagle nest in Iowa has seen incredible drama, with several little eaglets hatched and fledged. If I miss out on the live action, there are many saved highlights such as this one.

3. Will It Blend?

Will it blend, that is the question.

More often than not, it will blend—with the help of a frighteningly powerful blender driven by the star of the show, Tom Dickson. For years, Tom has been compelled to blend anything he can get his protective gloves on. Clearly, his favourite victims are the very latest (and desirable) consumer electronics.  For example,  the iPhone 4S was recently “sentenced”  to the smoothie function. Juvenile but utterly compelling; Tom Dickson and his blender fits the description of Walter Benjamin’s “the Destructive Character”.

5. Fluid Radio

I’m spending more time on Fluid Radio’s program of ambience and soundscapes than any other internet radio station. The station offers two channels: Experimental Acoustic Frequencies and Experimental Vocal Frequencies. Both channels include a wide variety of from independent labels. Both channels have the potential to  suspend time itself, especially in a studio during late/early hours.

2. vvork

Marlie Mul, Cigarette Ends Here, 2011.

I consider vvork one of the great ongoing online exhibitions. The boys at vvork do a great job in curating from the widest field. Established to emerging and underground all find themselves here. The site runs with themes that are played out via obvious and at other times less immediate juxtapositions.

4. The Monthly

Instead of fetching from the internet,  I love newsfeeds that come to me via email in ever more succinct form. Better still is a brief hitlist of impeccably edited articles I can fast track to. The shortlist daily offers politics and current affairs in no particular order. It’s a free email service of The Monthly magazine and therefore Australian in its focus, however, articles crash in from international news services and I’ve found every article on the list worth the time.

6. Comparative Youtube studies

With the proliferation of material on Youtube and other video sharing platforms, it’s now possible to see lines of influence, connection and competition, as well as plagiarism. I love the Beyoncé vs. Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker or the more concrete Thorpe vs. Phelps (which ended up being Thorpe vs. Hoogenband). For me, it’s about those underwater angles as much as the competition.